Western Herald – Column: The hall that built me

Column: The hall that built me

Ambrosia Neldon
News Editor

118 Bigelow Hall was the first address that I didn’t share with my parents.

Six students have opted to live in Bigelow Hall for the past four years. Left to right: Jodi Williams, Jasmine Neldon, Eric Nederhoed, Frank Calabro, Hall Director Peter Larr, Sabbi Merz, Ambrosia Neldon

The 12 by 14 foot, cinderblock dorm room with creaky old stock furniture and a broken window may not seem like much to brag about to the outsider, but I loved it, and for the last four years, 118 Bigelow Hall has been my home.

I will be the last person to ever hold this address.

When I found out Bigelow Hall was being knocked down to build a new, up-to-date residence hall, I won’t lie; my heart hurt a little bit. I was selfishly angry, even though I knew I would be moving out for good before the building fell. I tried to express this feeling to friends outside of the residence hall, but, as could be expected, they just didn’t understand.

Then, the day after Valentine’s Day, while I was sitting in the hall office chatting with some of my friends who live in the residence hall, a man came in who expressed my feelings in a way nobody else could.

This man was in his upper twenties, maybe even lower thirties. He came with a folder that was busting at the seams with what looked to be construction paper and grocery bags, a letter for our hall director and the biggest grin on his face.

Immediately as he walked through the door, he began talking so rapidly that it was hard to keep up. I could tell he was nervous.

He told us that about a decade before, he met the woman who is now his wife in Bigelow Hall. As it turns out, that folder was full of posters, handmade gifts and other memorabilia that reminded him of Bigelow and the beginning of his relationship with his wife. After his longwinded, speedy explanation, he took a deep breath and looked each of us in the eye.

“I would have never met my wife had fate not put us together in this dorm building,” he said. “I know you’re knocking it down, and I know it’s just a building, but it’s so much more to us, and I can’t stand the thought of not being able to make one last memory here with my wife.”

A few days later, the man and his wife had lunch in the building so they could share this one last memory.

Now that, as we Bigelownians refer to it, is Bigelove.

Like the man (whose name I can’t remember), Bigelow has been so much more than a home for me. Looking back at my college career, almost every memory I have, good or bad, has had something to do with this building.

When I had a big test to study for (or an enormous paper to write, as was usually the case for this English major), Bigelow was my own personal study hall. When I had friends over, my dorm became a living room. When I’d had a bad day, my room became a sanctuary where I could cry it out in private.

There are six of us who have been living in Bigelow for four years, and we truly have become a family, fighting just like siblings over the bathroom at times, but also encouraging each other when necessary, and entertaining each other even when not.

I could go on and on forever about my beloved home, but I’ll leave it at this: in the end, the building that falls will be nothing but those cinderblocks and broken windows, but the successful, bright, intelligent men and women it produced will always remember the memories made in that rickety old building, and we’ll take them with us forever.

If that’s not Bigelove, I don’t know what is.

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